On Thursday, Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau took the first formal legislative step to remove limits on the political activities of charities.
Morneau introduced a Ways and Means Motion in the House of Commons on Thursday. The motion passed today with a vote of 166 to 114. Ways and Means Motions are tabled and approved prior to the introduction of taxation legislation. This motion removes restrictions on political activities of charities among other changes.Read more
An effort is underway to get the Government of Canada to ban so-called "conversion therapy" for minors in Canada.
The therapy is based on religious fundamentalism and pseudoscientific claims that a person's sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed. The techniques are discredited by the Pan American Health Organization, the Canadian Psychological Association and other mainstream medical bodies.Read more
Calling the funding contrary to the province's duty of religious neutrality, the BC Humanist Association today called on the province's finance committee to phase out the public funding of private schools in the next provincial budget.Read more
The BC Humanist Association today said proposals in a draft charities reform bill "fall far short of the mark" by failing to implement a modernized charities framework.
The BCHA welcomes the Government's move to delete references to nonpartisan political activities, thereby ending the gag on charities participating in development of public policy. However, the proposed bill offers little else to celebrate.Read more
The BC Humanist Association is welcoming proposed legislation to repeal restrictions on the political activities of charities in Canada but we are disappointed that the proposals don't go farther.
Under existing rules, Canadian charities must not spend more than 10% of its resources on "political activities." This includes activities intended to influence legislation or government policy. Charities are forbidden from partisan activities, which includes endorsing or opposing specific candidates or parties.
The federal government quietly released proposed changes to these rules on Friday evening. The proposals would remove references to political activities from the Income Tax Act. This follows recommendations from the Report of the Consultation Panel on the Political Activities of Charities released earlier this year and the Canada Without Poverty v AG ruling. That ruling found the current restrictions to be unconstitutional; however, the government is appealing.Read more
The BC Humanist Association today called on the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector to support new legislation defining what a charity is and for that legislation to create equality between religious and nonreligious worldviews in Canadian charity law.Read more
Christian and Catholic groups are receiving a disproportionate amount of BC's Independent School funding, according to an analysis released by the BC Humanist Association today.
Ian Bushfield, Executive Director, BC Humanist Association:
Last week we showed how BC's Office of Independent Schools has been overseen by evangelical Christians for three decades. So it's not surprising to see hundreds of millions of dollars go to Christian and Catholic schools in greater proportion than one would expect from the religious demographics of the province.
23% of British Columbians identified as Christian or Catholic in a 2016 poll by the BCHA (or 45% in the 2011 Census). However, 62% of the $358 million dollars given to independent schools went to Christian and Catholic schools in the 2017-18 school year.Read more
There is a risk that we are going to be forcing people, or trying to force people, to engage in a service or a support that is legitimately not right for them.
Karen Urbanoski, a scientist at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research in Victoria, told this to journalist Bethany Lindsay in a CBC feature piece on Byron Wood's human rights complaint over being required to attend Alcoholic's Anonymous by his former employer.Read more
As students return to schools across the province today, so will the nearly half a billion dollars that continue to flow to private schools in BC.
The Province of British Columbia currently provides private schools (also called independent schools) with public funding equivalent to up to 50% of the funding per-student that a neighbouring public school receives. The total handout to private schools in British Columbia for the 2018-19 school year is budgeted to be over $425 million.
The BC Humanist Association supports the principle of public funds for public education and has called for the phase out of public funding to all independent schools. Through the summer we have been looking into independent schools and over the coming weeks, we will be releasing our findings from looking into these schools.Read more
As we've outlined, city and town councils across the province have the freedom to exempt certain lands from property taxes. In an effort to understand what cities have done, earlier this year we wrote to every city, town, village and incorporated district in BC and asked them. While most communities provide these exemptions to religious properties, we found a sizable proportion require organizations to demonstrate a public benefit prior to receiving the exemption and a small number of communities that choose not to provide any permissive tax exemptions.Read more